Don’t say it’s easy, you have no idea yet if it is easy

It’s so easy when your on the phone with a client or in a meeting to tell them that a certain feature is ‘easy’ or as the tweet below says “straight forward”.

Edwin has it right, saying something is easy is often a way of saying I really haven’t thought about it yet.

Limit Comments by Team

Last year I had a project come my way where we needed to limit comments made on a custom post type so that they were visible to only users of the same ‘team’.

When the request came through to me there was some line like:

I don’t know how to do it, but it doesn’t sound too hard to me.

Now of course that’s often a flag on a project, though I’ve worked with this designer a bunch adding features to their work so I let the flag go. I know they are awesome.

Really this designer doesn’t even have a proper framework to evaluate the complexity of the project. Which means I asked all these questions:

  • but do Editors (or other roles) have access regardless of teams?
  • do Admins see all comments regardless of the teams?
  • do all users see admin comments, even if they have replied to someone from another team?
  • are we going to show comment counts for the team, or for the whole post?
  • how are we dealing with comment visibility in the WordPress admin area?

Depending on those answers, it may not be very straight forward.

You want to sound awesome

When you’re on that call or in that meeting with the client and you want to tell them that something is easy stop don’t say it.

You’ve had 5 seconds to think about it, not 15 minutes to probe the problem.

I only came up with my questions after checking out the WordPress source for a few minutes to see how comments were written so I could start to work the code out in my head.

You simply don’t have that time when you’re in a meeting.

Then you’ve said it’s ‘easy’ and the client expects a price for ‘easy’. If it’s not actually easy you’re then stuck with your price anchored at ‘easy’.

That may mean the project won’t happen because the cost is suddenly to much for an ‘easy’ bit of work.

Back to the teams

With my project above all the answers came back in the easiest way possible so the project was really straight forward. Add about 30 lines of code and push it out for testing.

One day of work and it’s all tidy.

But I wouldn’t have known that without taking the time to actually start working out the solution in my head.

Next time you want to say “it’s easy”, stop and tell the client you need to look more at the problem and get back to them about it.

Then take that 15 minutes and start to work out the solution in your head and ask your client the questions that will come up as you look at the problems.

It’s often not as “easy” as you thought and then you don’t look as awesome as you’d hoped.

photo credit: azrasta cc

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